The Beach Times

The Past and Present of Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, January 27, 2020

four seas ice cream

Have you ever wondered why Cape Cod has such a massive ice cream scene?

It seems as though you can't walk more than a couple of blocks on some parts of the Cape without coming across an ice cream shop, as locals and visitors alike expect to find these sweet treats everywhere in the summer.

While we don't know why Cape Cod ice cream is so popular, Four Seas Ice Cream might have something to do with it.

You see, there was a time when Four Seas Ice Cream was a known hangout for members of the Kennedy family, and their love of this particular shop is well documented.

National publications would show pictures of the Kennedy family enjoying some ice cream from Four Seas, making people around the country aware of these desserts on the Cape.

We can't say for sure that the Kennedys are responsible for the popularity of ice cream here, but we do know that people return to places like Four Seas year after year because of the quality flavors they produce.

The History of the Shop

Four Seas Ice Cream is Cape Cod's oldest ice cream shop, having opened its doors in 1934. The store comes from humble beginnings, as W. Wells Watson, an insurance salesperson from Boston, purchased an old blacksmith's shop, converting it into its current form.

Watson, along with a partner, lost a lot of money in the first few years, but after buying out the partner, the shop exploded in popularity, becoming an integral part of summers on Cape Cod.

In 1960, Watson sold the shop to Richard Warren, a new college graduate who had worked at the shop in the summers. Warren operated the shop with wife, Georgia, and later his second wife, Linda, until 1999 when he transitioned ownership to his son, Douglas.

Today, Douglas and his wife, Peggy, still own and operate the shop, making every batch of ice cream by hand in the backroom, just as it has been done since 1934.

The shop looks just as it did in 1934, as well, except for some new coats of paint and a few modern upgrades.

Four Seas Ice Cream is an institution in Centerville, and if all goes according to plan, it will remain as such for generations to come.

What's on the Menu?

As you might expect, the main item on the menu at Four Seas Ice Cream is ice cream, as they have dozens of flavors available at any given time.

Some flavors are seasonal, such as fresh strawberry, which is made with strawberries picked on Cape Cod. In addition, the store's peach flavored ice cream is only available when southern peaches are ripe because Doug Warren believes they're far superior to California peaches.

Other seasonal flavors include gingerbread, creme brulee, egg nog, pumpkin spice, and cranberry bog, and there is a selection of sherbets and non-dairy options, as well.

In addition to ice cream, you can also get a light lunch at Four Seas Ice Cream, with the headliner being the shop's famous lobster rolls. Other options include hot dogs, mac and cheese, soup, chili, lobster salad, and a variety of sandwiches.

The menu at Four Seas Ice Cream might be small, but you're sure to find anything you could ever want at an ice cream shop here.

The Ice Cream Making Process

Everything available at Four Seas Ice Cream is made in the backroom of the building by hand. As a result, during the peak season, Doug and Peggy Warren will make as much as 680 gallons of ice cream per day, all using one machine.

The process begins by pouring an ice cream base mix into a hand-powered churn, which is what creates the ice cream. After everything is mixed, the flavors are added, and the final product is stored in containers.

The containers of ice cream are kept in freezers, with the main freezer being about the same size as the entire front room of the shop. The large size is because the store needs to keep an incredible amount of product on hand in the summer since it's so busy.

Visiting Four Seas Ice Cream

Take the time to visit Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville during your Cape Cod vacation, and you won't be disappointed. While it's likely that you'll encounter a line during the peak season, it moves quickly because most people are only ordering ice cream.

The shop is located on South Main Street in Centerville, 0.6 miles from Craigville Beach. As a result, you can walk to the shop from the beach in about 10 minutes, or drive in two minutes, if you're not worried about giving up your parking spot.

Four Seas Ice Cream is a significant part of the past, present, and future of Centerville. If your vacation rental is in this area, make sure you stop by for a cone.

Centerville Craigville Beach Four Seas Ice Cream Ice Cream The Kennedys

Yes, Cape Cod Has Mountain Biking, Too
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, January 21, 2020

mountain biking on cape cod

Although the paved bike paths on Cape Cod get much of the attention, there is an active mountain bike scene here, too. In fact, those in-the-know report that the Cape is becoming a mountain bikers' mecca thanks to the hundreds of miles of maintained trails found here.

If you're able to bring your mountain bike to your Cape Cod vacation rental, you'll have access to all of these trails, as many are minutes from the downtown sections of the Cape's largest towns.

Here's what you need to know about the best places to mountain bike on Cape Cod.

The Trail of Tears

The best-known mountain biking area on Cape Cod is the Trail of Tears in West Barnstable. The Trail of Tears sits inside a 1,200-acre conservation area on Race Lane that is popular with hikers, runners, cross-country skiers, and, of course, mountain bikers.

There's about 21 miles of track that run through the region and feature a variety of steep and twisted sections. The trail isn't overly technical, but there are some opportunities to catch some air because of the abundance of short climbs.

To get to the park, exit the Mid-Cape Highway on either Prospect Street or Chase Road and follow the street until you reach Race Lane. The parking area for the West Barnstable Conservation Area has a sign along the main road.

Willow Street Trails

The Willow Street riding area in Hyannis and Yarmouth is actually made up of two separate locations. When you ride both of them, however, it creates 35 miles of track that will keep you occupied for hours.

The first area is 20 miles in size and heads through the Hyannis Ponds Wildlife Management Area. Much of this trail is right along Route 6, but you can escape the highway and head into the woods at various points. Getting to this path is as simple as exiting Route 6 at Exit 7 and parking beside the railroad tracks.

The other area in Yarmouth features 15 miles of track off Higgins Crowell Road. You can follow the trail to Little Sandy Pond, which provides a great place to stop for a quick break on your journey. There's a small parking lot on Higgins Crowell Road that you can use while exploring the area.

The Otis Trails

Use caution when riding the Otis in Bourne and Falmouth because there are some restricted areas along the way. There's a very good reason for this, as the trails pass the Otis Air Force Base, and civilians aren't allowed on that land under any circumstances. If you go too far, you run the risk of having military police escort you off the property.

It can be challenging to know where the trails end and the base begins because there aren't any signs or markings. As a general rule, don't cross any paved roads on your ride, and you should be fine.

Although many riders are scared away by the prospect of having to deal with military police, the Otis provides one of the best rides on the Cape because a lot of it heads through the Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area.

Much of the track here is quite fast, with plenty of ups and downs throughout the ride. Some of the hills are quite long, and you'll find some technical sections here, too.

Parking for the Otis Trails is relatively easy to find, as it sits just east of where Route 28 and Route 151 meet. There's a small pullout on the side of Route 151 that provides direct access to the trails and will act as your starting point. Just be careful to avoid the military base, and you'll have a great time on this journey.

Nickerson State Park

Probably the best-known location on this list is Nickerson State Park in Brewster, which is a popular hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating area. The park has over 1,900 acres of forests, ponds, and trails, giving you plenty of places to explore.

One thing to remember about Nickerson State Park is that the trails around Flax Pond, Cliff Pond, and Little Cliff Pond are for hiking only, so you cannot bring your bike there. You can ride around Higgin's Pond and Ruth Pond, however, and there is a good mix of beginner and intermediate paths, as well.

Parking at Nickerson State Park is relatively easy, as there are lots throughout the space that are open to the public. The mountain bike trails also meet up with the Cape Cod Rail Trail, making it possible to ride in and out of the park if you wish.

The Badlands

There are tons of trails at the Badlands in Yarmouth, and if you want to explore them all, you'll have to return for at least a second day.

Most of the trails are relatively easy, as they wind through a conservation area featuring a cranberry bog and some wetlands. The singletracks here are smooth and easy to navigate, with small hills and some gentle ups and downs that provide a leisurely ride. One of the trails even connects to another path that will take you to Maple Swamp, which is about 30 miles away.

This park does have a devious side, however, as the Badland Trail is something a little different. The Badland Trail isn't a natural mountain biking area, but rather a constructed singletrack that winds around and around through an abandoned sandpit.

Many who have ridden this trail say it is unlike anything they've ever experienced before, so if you dare to attempt it, make sure you're ready for a unique ride.

The Badlands sits just off the Mid-Cape Highway with parking available on West Great Western Road, Union Street, and Weir Road. There aren't any designated parking lots, but rather pullouts along the side of the roads that you'll have to find.

Mountain Biking on Cape Cod

This list is just a small taste of some of the better-known mountain biking spots on the Cape, but there is plenty more to explore.

If you're planning a trip to Cape Cod and are interested in learning more about the mountain biking scene, check out the New England Mountain Bike Association's website. There, you'll find trail maps and more information on the best places to ride during your Cape Cod vacation.

Badlands Biking Hyannis Mountain Biking Nickerson State Park Otis Trails Trail Of Tears West Barnstable Yarmouth

The Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary – Home of the Quaking Bog
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, January 13, 2020

Quaking Bog

Provincetown is known for a lot of things, as it's an artists colony that has perhaps Cape Cod's best nightlife, and features two of the region's most popular beaches.

The town is also known for its Carnival celebration, its incredible dining scene, and the bustling atmosphere along Commercial Street.

Basically, Provincetown is a place you can head for near any Cape Cod activity, and it'll rarely disappoint.

But did you know that Provincetown is also home to the Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary? This park is notable because it contains the world's largest quaking bog on a barrier beach system, an ecological distinction that attracts all kinds of rare plants and animals.

If you're looking to escape the bustle of Provincetown, you're only a few minutes away from the Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and a peaceful afternoon in nature.

What is a Quaking Bog?

So, Provincetown is home to the world's largest quaking bog on a barrier beach system, but what does this mean?

In short, a quaking bog describes any bog where layers of peat, shrubs, or other plants form on top of the water or mud. The vegetation shakes when you walk on it, hence the name quaking bog.

A barrier beach is a long, narrow beach that runs along the shoreline and provides protection to the mainland or, in this case, marshland.

The size and location of the Shank Painter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary are significant because the area provides plenty of space for wildlife to nest and eat in Provincetown.

Birds and also wildlife can spend their days near the sea before returning to the safety of the bog at night, or simply live at the marsh because of the natural protection and food sources it provides.

The Basics of the Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary

Getting to the Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary couldn't be easier, as it sits just north of downtown Provincetown. To reach the area, drive towards Herring Cove Beach and turn left 0.4 miles past the Pilgrim Bark Park. There is a small parking lot off the highway that leads to a trail. From there, you can get to the pond.

You can also walk to the park via a sand trail that meets with Ships Way Road in downtown Provincetown.

Overall, the park is 7.52 acres in size and open for hiking, birdwatching, and fishing. The main trail has an observation deck overlooking Shankpainter Pond, while there's also a secondary trail with a viewing bench. 

The Flora and Fauna

The area around Shankpainter Pond is often referred to as the ecological crown jewel of Provincetown because of the variety of plants and animals you'll come across there. In fact, there are even a few endangered species that call this pond home.

One such endangered species is the dragon's mouth orchid, which is a pink flower with a yellow center that you'll find throughout the park. Of course, the orchid isn't to be confused with the pink lady's slipper, a flower of particular concern that is also present in this conservation area. Other plants you'll come across include the carnivorous pitcher plant, the gold club, the bogbean, and the grasspink.

Another endangered species that lives in the Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is the spotted turtle. You'll also have the opportunity to see rare birds like hawks, osprey, and heron, in addition to more common birds like red-winged blackbirds, warblers, and ducks. River otters, Easter spadefoot toads, and box turtles also live here, while anglers will find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and pickerel to catch.

Make the Most of Your Time in Provincetown

No matter what your reason for visiting P-Town might be, you'll find plenty to do throughout your stay.

Taking a quick trip up to the Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary not only provides an escape from the bustle of Commercial Street but also allows you to see the largest quaking pond on a barrier beach system in the entire world. While that distinction isn't necessarily exciting, how often do you get the chance to see the largest anything on the planet?

Making the most of your vacation to Provincetown, Massachusetts, means exploring as seeing as much of the area as possible, and the Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is an excellent place to begin.

Provincetown Shankpainter Pond Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife

Spending a Night Out at the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar in Dennis
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, January 6, 2020

harvest wine bar

Although it is home to some great restaurants, a couple of performing arts venues, and a movie theater, Dennis, Massachusetts, isn't exactly known for its nightlife.

One exception is the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar, a unique venue featuring a diverse menu, outstanding drink options, live entertainment, and an on-site art gallery.

The Harvest Gallery Wine Bar isn't a place to party, but it provides a cultural atmosphere where you can enjoy some drinks, have a bite to eat, and listen to live music well into the evening.

If you're looking for a relaxing place to hang out late-night on your Cape Cod vacation, the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar is worth considering.

Drinks From the Bar

This venue has "wine bar" right in its name, so it makes sense that it would focus on providing high-end wine to its guests.

The Harvest Gallery Wine Bar has a wide selection of white and red wines from California, Oregon, Italy, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and France, so no matter what you're into, they're likely to have it. They carry rose and prosecco, too, should you want something a little sweeter.

Wine is available by the glass or the bottle, with select options coming in half-bottles, too.

As for cocktails, the bar has a signature menu, including some original concoctions that you won't find anywhere else. Cape House 2.0 and the Harvest Spritz are particularly compelling options that are worth a try.

There's a beer menu at the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar, as well, which features drafts from local breweries like Devil's Purse, Cape Cod Beer, and Barnstable Brewing, in addition to regional producers like Mayflower Brewing in Plymouth and Narragansett Brewing Company in Rhode Island. You'll also see options from other breweries around the country in cans and bottles.

No matter your preference, you'll find a great drink at the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar.

A Look at the Menu

There's a little bit of everything on the food menu at the Harvest Gallery, including local favorites like clam chowder, oysters, and sea scallops.

If you visit as a group, there are nachos, lettuce wraps, and a charcuterie board to share, or you can choose from a selection of salads and pizzas.

The main menu features sandwiches and paninis, and there is even a kids' menu featuring smaller sandwiches and pasta.

For dessert, you can choose between house-made creme brulee, carrot cake, and chocolate cake, or kick it up a notch with a blueberry crisp martini.

The menu might not be as extensive as other places on the Cape, but there's something for everyone at the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar.

There's Always Live Entertainment

The main draw at the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar is the live music. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, the venue has at least one band, with some nights having two performers taking the stage.

Generally, the music gets started at 7:00 PM on Thursdays and 8:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, although things get going as early as 5:00 PM when there are multiple bands.

The restaurant opens on select Sundays, too, and there is also live music on those nights.

The Harvest Gallery Wine Bar doesn't accept reservations, so you'll have to arrive early to ensure that you find a seat. Keep in mind that the doors open at 4:00 PM and the schedule comes out well in advance, giving you plenty of time to plan ahead.

A Contemporary Art Gallery

While you're sampling the wine at the bar, why not check out the art gallery, too? This studio features contemporary works by over 30 local Cape Cod artists and is always changing depending on what the artists provide.

Most of the works displayed inside the restaurant are for sale so that you can bring a one-of-a-kind piece home with you from your Cape Cod vacation.

Visit the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar's website for a full list of their current artists, as well as what everything costs to purchase.

Your Night on the Town

The Harvest Gallery Wine Bar enjoys a convenient location in Dennis Village, right on the Old King's Highway and within walking distance of the Cape Playhouse. This location makes it easily accessible from vacation rentals throughout the Mid-Cape, so you can make the venue a part of your holiday plans.

When visiting Cape Cod, you'll have plenty of entertainment options, but a visit to the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar is sure to become a highlight.

Cape Playhouse Dennis Dennis Village Harvest Gallery Wine Bar

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